Showdown looms as United Kingdom lawmakers clash over May's Brexit deal

Christopher Davidson
January 10, 2019

MPs voted 308-297 on Wednesday in favour of demanding the government come up with an alternative plan within three working days after Tuesday's vote, rather than a planned 21-day limit, in a non-binding motion that nonetheless piles pressure on the government.

"Obviously, the next thing to do immediately after that is for there to be a vote of confidence in the government", he told BBC Radio 4. May had been hoping to have up to 28 days to come up with a new agreement or an alternative Brexit plan if her deal is voted down.

While a majority of MPs may vote to take a "no deal" Brexit off the table, that would not legally oblige Mrs May's government to do so.

It's after he allowed a vote on whether Theresa May should be forced to reveal her Plan B within three days, should lose a vote on her Brexit deal next week.

"That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing".

The date of the vote was pushed back until after Christmas after minister accepted that the deal was heading for a crushing defeat.

UK Brexit minister Martin Callanan ruled out that prospect and said May would update MPs on Wednesday about the assurances over the backstop she is seeking from the EU.

The government said it was an "inconvenience" but would not stop its preparations for leaving the EU. But the deal has run into fierce opposition among MPs, particularly from a group of Ms.

A month after postponing a vote on the deal to avert near-certain defeat, May urged Parliament to support it to prevent Britain leaving the European Union on March 29 with no agreement on exit terms and future relations, an outcome that could cause economic and social upheaval.

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The Government later accepted proposals which would give the House of Commons the power to reject both an extension to the Brexit transition period and the introduction of a backstop if no wider trade deal is secured by the end of 2020.

May's fellow Conservative Party colleagues who support a hard Brexit, which would entail cutting nearly all ties to the EU.

Hinting at one path of action MPs could try and force the prime minister down, Sir Keir told MPs: "There is a question of the extension of article 50, which may well be inevitable now, given the position that we are in, but of course we can only seek it, because the other 27 [EU member states] have to agree".

A Downing Street source said she had always meant to respond quickly if she loses next week's vote.

It took place at the start of five days of debate in the Commons after she dramatically pulled a vote last month following a warning by the whips that she was facing certain defeat.

"I've been in contact with European leaders. about MPs' concerns".

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom challenged Bercow to publish any advice he had received from his clerks - prompting an eruption from Labour MPs who pointed out the government's own attempts to keep the legal advice it had received on Brexit private.

The government needs 318 votes to get a deal through the 650-seat House of Commons, as seven members of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein do not sit, four Speakers and deputy Speakers do not vote, and the four tellers are not counted.

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